Down with quant! Long live qual!

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[tweetmeme source=”lovestats” only_single=false]Let’s start from the very beginning, a very good place to start. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, scientists did scientific research. They measured volumes, weights, wavelengths, and temperatures of liquids, solids, and gases. They invented scientific instruments that could assign numbers to those physical measurements and those measurements remained 100% reliable in the centuries that followed, new discoveries exempted.

Market research is a different story. We aren’t measuring biological or physical truths. We are measuring psychological tendencies. There is nothing pure nor static about human behaviour. We think, we suppose, we ponder, and we do it differently every single day.

Like the biological scientist, smrt market research scientists have spent many years and much brain power building scientific tools for measurement. It started with the very first psychology research method of “introspection.” Yes, this scientific method comprised thinking very carefully about why you did something. And that was the scientific process.

We’ve progressed over the years and have built much more solid and reliable tools since then, but, even so, those tools aren’t accurate in the same way that a weight scale or height scale is accurate. And, our MR tools aren’t measuring factors which are stable from day to day or even second to second.

The field of marketing research relies not on the science of assigning numbers to truths, but on the science of assigning numbers to thoughts, ideas, and memories. These are things with no truths, just trends and tendencies.

So really, the debate of whether you are qual or quant seems moo. Aren’t we all just variations on qual?

(There are at least four really bad TV/movie references in here. My sincere apologies.)

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